Interest rates play a crucial role in the housing market. Lower rates typically promote an increase in demand for properties, this in turn drives up pricing, while on the flip side of that, higher interest rates reduce the demand since the costs of a mortgage increase deterring prospective home buyers. We have been in a special situation in the past few years with respect to the pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic caused so much chaos and instability regarding jobs, economic growth, recession and so many unknowns it left Americans and the world with our heads spinning. In an effort to stimulate and grow the economy the rates were lowered to record lows in past years in hopes to aid economic growth and stability in a very unstable time.The Federal Reserve pumped money into the economy, spending trillions of dollars on mortgage-backed securities to hinder another financial crisis. This move allowed lenders to offer rock-bottom interest rates, tumbling to the mid-2% range by the summer of 2021. With the low mortgage rates prices continued to increase since buyers could borrow more money for less than ever before. The low rates coupled with the available housing supply being low caused even further price increases in home values. With buyers fighting over the homes that were on the market, bidding wars were not that uncommon in portions of 2021 and 2022.
In March of this year the interest rates began to rise in an effort to combat inflation and curb the continual rise of home prices across the country. So far, the Fed’s six hikes in 2022 have increased rates by a combined 3 percentage points . Generally, interest rate hikes will raise costs for homeowners and reduce buying power. As mortgage rates increase, houses become less affordable. An increase of 1% interest rate can have a significant impact on mortgage costs. You can expect monthly payments to increase by an average of 10-15% . Buying power decreases and homes become less attractive for purchase thereby reducing the demand for homes. Sellers are then forced with the question of whether to reduce their price to have their home be more attractive and affordable for purchase. The area, supply, demand, location, home type, condition and income are a few things that need to be considered before putting your house on the market and/or lowering your current price. Interest rates have continued to have a major influence in the overall market.
Investors do not necessarily share in the despair of rising interest rates compared to the typical buyer. Rising rates means fewer people can qualify for loans and will choose to rent rather than buy. Rents are at an all time high due to the demand for housing. There is more possibility for higher rates of return on investments during times of high interest rates and overall demand for rentals. The investors that pay cash for bartering reasons or the ability not to use a bank for the purchase of a home can receive a hefty stream of cash flow without the imposed rate variation from a conventional bank. But as we all know…it is easier to make money when you have money!
In conclusion, real estate pricing and interest rates are in a relationship with one another that can not be broken, they are like a married couple, always trying to find the best balance for both parts to work smoothly for a greater benefit.